Building a Home 101

I just want to make a few statements before we get started building.

1. Building a home is not easy, especially if you do not have the slightest clue about construction.
2. Building a home takes a lot of time, if you think you can work a 40 hour week job, and stop by
the construction site to check your contractors progress, you are wrong.
3. Meeting every contractor, and going over as much details as possible is key.
4. Being present on the job site is important.
5. A average home will take 6 months to build.
6. This is just the basics of building a home I did not put every detail in here.

Step 1: Choosing a home blueprint

In my opinion I would not have a custom blue print drawn because it is costly. If you are a real picky person and everything has to be just the way you want it then hiring a architect might be for you, but get ready to pay thousands of dollars. I myself have found many good prints on the internet with prices from $ 500.00 to $ 1500.00 depending on the size of home.

Step 2: Finding the land to fit your home blueprint.

The first major mistake is people buying their land before choosing their home plan. I do not know about other parts of this country but Georgia has many different types elevations. Picking the home plan of your dreams, and finding the land to fit will not only make you happy, but will also save you money.

OK you have your blueprint that you are your wife agree upon. Lets just say the home you choose is a ranch style home with a front two car garage, and a full daylight basement at the rear of home. The type of land you will be looking for should slope away from the road or has a relatively flat spot and then slope toward the rear. The slope toward the rear is important for your basement.

Have a Realtor write a contract on the land with stipulations on current survey, soil testing and any other recommendation that he or she may suggest. A current survey will make sure the acreage that you are buying is correct. The surveyor should mark the property pins, the foundation of home, driveway, and well. Marking the house site is not only need for soil testing but for clearing / grading too. Soil testing & well positioning is also needed for pulling a building permit. If you have public sewer and water available then soil testing will not be needed.

Step 3: Pulling building permits

To pull building permits you should first make a phone call to your local government planning / development office and ask for a list of items that they will need. For example home blue prints, survey with marked home site, soil test, drivers license, check book, and etc. Types of permits needed will include grading permit, culvert permit, and home permit. Ask for rules, regulations and inspections, most planning and development offices will have all the information you need.

Step 4: Clearing and Grading

Your surveyor should have marked the property pins, staked out the home foundation, marked well position, and marked the driveway. You and your grader should walk the property and make sure everyone is on the same page. These are the items I would discuss with the grading contractor:

1. Culvert size and price
2. Stone for driveway
3. Clearing home site
4. Clearing for septic system
5. Clearing a buffer around the home
6. Clearing driveway
7. Clearing a well access
8. Money back for harvested lumber (hardwood / pine)
9. Tree stumps (hall off or burn / bury)
10. Foundation walls (8 '9' walls?)
11. Septic tank placement

Note: Before your grader packs up and gets out of town make sure everything is the way you want it. Moving heavy equipment around is costly and you do not want to pay to remove a couple of trees, or maybe a dead tree that was missed. Double check the foundation measurements sometimes contractors make mistakes.

Step 5: Temporary Power

Your electrician can handle temporary power. This is just a mater of installing a temporary power pole and calling the local power company for inspection, then hook up.

Step 6: Well

Meet your well contractor and show him where your proposed site is. If he has any concerns the site can be moved, this is not a big deal as long as you are 100 'away from the septic field.

Step 7: Foundation and Walls

As long as the grading contractor did his job the foundation contractor should have no problems. You will have to go over the foundation blue print together. The contractor should recommend wall sizing, wall height, and, 2 'x 2' vertical and horizontal re-bar for wall strength. You will need to pick out a mechanical room in the basement, this is a area where your potential HVAC unit, electrical panel, water heater, and well pressure tank will be placed. Tell your foundation contractor this is where your water supply will be coming in and also mention where your septic tank will be placed. In our example home with a walk out basement your septic tank will be at the rear of your home, this can change depending on land layout.

Note: In most cases a foundation inspection will have to be called in before concrete footings are poured.

Step 8: Slab Rough Plumbing

The plumbing contractor will be able to look at your prints and know where he needs to stub his drain pipes. Show him where your mechanical room is and where your water supply will be entering the home, also mention where your septic tank will be placed. If you are planning on a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, or any other plumbing related item this is now the time to say something.

Note: In most cases a slab rough plumbing inspection will have to be called in before any plumbing is covered with dirt.

Step 9: Foundation Slab

The slab contractor will have to look at your prints. He should know what has to be done to pass inspection. In most counties located in north Georgia your slab will have to consist of a plastic vapor barrier, 4 "of crushed stone (# 57), and re-bar placed in any load bearing footings. Once everything is prepped call in your inspection.

Step 10: Framing

The first thing to do is go to your local lumber supply store. Give the company a copy of your blue prints for a lumber estimate. Some lumber supply stores offer other products such as windows, exterior doors, roofing, interior doors, interior trim, kitchens, etc. The only items your framer will need are lumber for framing your home and deck / porch material. Some framers offer other services such as installing exterior windows / doors and roofing felt to get your house dried in.

Note: Window & door sizes are important and your framer will need these measurements. Windows & doors is some cases take weeks to get, so planing is key here.

Step 11: House Wrap

Most insulating companies install house wrap. This needs to be done after framing and before windows and doors are installed.

Step 12: Decks & Porches

If your framer does not build decks & porches you will have to hire another contractor for these items. Go over your blueprint and discuss items such as materials, type of deck / porch, handrails, etc.

Step 13: Roofing

Have your roofer set up and ready to go after the framer is done sheathing the roof. The faster you dry in your home the better due to weather. Items roofer will need are felt paper, shingles, roofing vents, power vents and maybe more so check withe your roofing contractor.

Step 14: Windows & Doors

As stated earlier if your framer did not install the exterior window & doors then usually the siding contractor will do this.

Step 15: Rough Plumbing

The plummer will need to meet with you, go over the blueprints, and mark where everything goes.
He going to ask questions such as:

1. Kitchen sink location
2. Refrigerator location
3. Washer location
4. Dishwasher location
4. Types of vanities & sink centers
5. Plumbing fixtures
6. Shower enclosures
7. Jacuzzi tubs
8. Toilets

Be prepared, have items picked out and ready to go.

Note: Get with a kitchen & design company, so you can have layouts and specifications for the plumber.

Step 16: Rough HVAC (heating ventilation & air conditioning)

A licensed HVAC Contractor will calculate sizing of the unit needed for your home. For every 500 sq. ft. of living space you can figure 1 ton of HVAC, so basically a 2000 sq. ft. home will need a 4 ton unit.

Step 17: Rough Electrical

Your Electrician will have to wire the house to code, but if you want more outlets, or specialty lighting the electrician needs to know. Walk and mark the house with your electrician, ask questions as you go.

Step 18: Low Voltage Wiring

Low voltage wiring consists of TV cable, phone, security, alarm, etc. Electricians sometimes provide this service, but if not then hire a low voltage technician.

Step 19: Exterior Siding

Depending on what type of siding you may have chosen depends on installation, but what ever you choose your contractors will know what to do.

Synthetic Stone

Step 20: Insulation

Insulation contractors will install to code, if you want sound deading insulation, then areas will have to be specified.

Step 21: Sheetrock

Sheetrock is simple just go over areas that you do and do not want installed.

Step 22: Rough Trim Carpentry

Trim carpenter will need to know what type of materials will be used and what areas will these materials be installed.

Door Casing
Crown Molding
Trey Ceiling
Coffered Ceiling
Entertainment Centers

Step 23: Tile & Grout

Tile contractor what type of materials you are using and what areas the tile will need to be installed.

Step 24: Rough Painting

Painting contractor will need to know types of paint to be used: flat, semi-gloss, gloss, egg shell, etc. Contractor will also need to know were these paints will go. It is a good idea to mark the areas with each paint color so nobody gets confused.

Step 25: Kitchen Cabinets & Vanities

Cabinets and vanities can be installed by your trim carpenter or the cabinet company that built your cabinets.

Step 26: Counter tops

Granite, tile, or laminate tops can be installed by these contractors. Ask / answer questions as needed. Most professional contractors know what needs to be done here

Step 27: Hardwood Flooring

There are many different types of hardwood flooring out there, buy this should be simple if you hire a professional, just show your contractor where it goes.

Step 28: Final Trim Carpentry

This is mainly tyeing in little finish pieces, and installing shoe molding, if you have any.

Step 29: Final Plumbing

This is just installing fixtures such as toilets, faucets, water heater, dishwasher, and so on. All you need to do is have these items available if you supplied them.

Step 30: Final Electrical

This is just installing fixtures, stove, microwave, receptacles, switches, etc. Just have these items available for your electrician.

Step 31: Final HVAC

HVAC contractor will finish installing his system and then start up the unit. Nothing is needed from you except to check the work and make sure you have heating & cooling.

Step 32: Final Painting

Touch up any remaining items, go ahead a mark any areas with blue tape this will help with the process.

You know what? by writing all of this down I just realized how many contractors it takes to build a house, and how much work goes into building a home, Wow !! Do you really want to know the funny part, I am missing details. There is no way I can spell out every detail, way to much unknown can happen when building a home.

Thanks for reading and good luck!